Giants

Giants have decision to make after Samardzija's shoulder acts up again

Giants have decision to make after Samardzija's shoulder acts up again

SAN FRANCISCO — Before the start of this three-game series, manager Bruce Bochy was asked whether he was ready to announce his second half rotation. Bochy was not, noting that he wanted to get through these three games. After the second game against the A’s, a 4-3 loss, he admitted that there’s now a discussion that needs to be had before any decisions are made public. 

Jeff Samardzija’s second start back from the disabled list was a step backwards. The right-hander admitted that he had trouble keeping his pitching shoulder loose, an issue that recently put him on the disabled list for 35 games. After that long layoff, Samardzija insisted he felt great. Clearly he does not, and the Giants have to decide when he’ll make his next start, or if he even will. 

“We’ll talk about it. We’ll talk about what we think is best,” Bochy said. “I’ll talk to Jeff on how he felt and how he feels tomorrow. He wants to be out there, but you can tell he was a little off tonight.”

Samardzija backed that point, answering a question about his health by talking about how much fun he’s having with this team and how he wants to contribute. But the Giants do not have much margin for error, and the first six innings Saturday seemed to indicate an intriguing choice moving forward. 

Samardzija gave up two runs on three hits and two walks in four innings, and only an impressive Steven Duggar catch in the gap kept it from being worse. Derek Holland, the man waiting in the wings, struck out the first five hitters he faced while throwing two scoreless innings of relief. 

Samardzija threw just 29 of 55 pitches for strikes and got three swings-and-misses. Holland got eight in much more limited time, throwing 19 of 26 pitches for strikes. Samardzija is known as the flamethrower, but his fastball maxed out at just 92.5 mph and he averaged around 90 mph with the pitch, which is 94-95 when most effective. Holland threw his fastest pitch of the season, a 94.7 mph fastball to Matt Olson, and averaged 93.3 mph with his heater. 

The timing lines up well for the Giants if they're ready to make a change. They have four days off, then three in Oakland, where Samardzija certainly would not be asked to pitch. After that, there’s an off day. If the Giants want to get creative or give Samardzija an extended breather, now is the time. Given his diminished velocity and lack of command, it’s apparent something needs to be done. 

“It’s a process right now,” Samardzija said. “(The shoulder) didn’t warm up quite the way we wanted it to. You go out there and do what you can do with what you’ve got. I’m not making excuses.”

Samardzija did keep the Giants in the game, and they had a shot even in the ninth. Blake Treinen, whose sinker is as nasty as it gets, walked a pair with two outs, but Brandon Crawford struck out. The inning was missing one component. Brandon Belt would have been due up second, but he was ejected after the fourth for arguing a check-swing call. Belt had been rung up by third base umpire Greg Gibson in the bottom of the inning on a questionable call. He argued as he took his position in the top of the fifth. Bochy said he would talk to Belt. 

“At some point, you’ve got to let it go,” he said. “Once he went out there and started arguing again, you’re going to get thrown out. That can’t happen in a game like this.”

Baseball Hall of Fame: Barry Bonds falls short in eighth straight year

Baseball Hall of Fame: Barry Bonds falls short in eighth straight year

The wait continues for Major League Baseball's all-time home run leader. 

Barry Bonds again fell well short of the needed vote total to make it to the Hall of Fame, finishing with 60.7 percent of the vote in his eighth year on the ballot. Bonds needs to get to 75 percent to make it to Cooperstown and now has just two more years to get there. 

Bonds saw a very slight uptick from 2019, when he received 59.1 percent of the vote. Since crossing over the halfway mark in 2017, he has gotten 53.8 percent, 56.4, 59.1 and now 60.7, but there is still a long way to go and not a whole lot of momentum at the moment. Bonds continues to see more support from younger voters and those who are willing to make their selections public -- he was at 71.2 percent on the 211 ballots that were released before Tuesday's announcement -- but he annually sees a big drop when the private ballots are added in. 

Bonds is MLB's all-time leader in homers and walks and was a seven-time National League MVP, but he continues to pay for his connection to performance-enhancing drugs. Roger Clemens, who has a remarkably similar case, received 61 percent of the vote this year. 

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The class will be a small one, with just Derek Jeter and Larry Walker making it. Jeter was listed on 396 of 397 ballots, coming one vote shy of joining former teammate Mariano Rivera as the only unanimous Hall of Famers. Walker made it in his final year on the ballot, clearing the threshold by just six votes. 

Two of Bonds' teammates received enough support that they will stay on the ballot. Longtime big league shortstop Omar Vizquel finished at 52.6 percent and former Giants MVP Jeff Kent at 27.5. Former A's Jason Giambi and Eric Chavez were among those who did not receive the five percent needed to stay on the ballot another year. 

Giants claim starting pitcher Luis Madero from Angels, DFA Jake Jewell

Giants claim starting pitcher Luis Madero from Angels, DFA Jake Jewell

For the second week in a row, the Giants claimed a right-hander from the Los Angeles Angels and made room on the roster by releasing another former Angel. 

This time, it was 22-year-old Luis Madero joining the organization on a waiver claim, with fellow right-hander Jake Jewell getting designated for assignment. Jewell had been claimed last Monday and the Giants cleared a spot that day by designating Zack Cozart. 

Madero, who made it to Double-A last season, seems to bring a bit more upside to an organization looking to hit on underrated prospects. He was ranked 11th in the Angels' system at the time of the waiver claim, according to MLB Pipeline. Madero had been DFA'd last week.

Madero was originally signed out of Venezuela by the Diamondbacks and has spent the last two seasons in A-ball and Double-A with the Angels. He made 24 appearances last season -- 22 of which were starts -- and posted a 5.03 ERA and 1.54 WHIP. 

[RELATED: Bonds falls short of Baseball Hall of Fame for eighth time]

According to MLB Pipeline, Madero has a low 90s sinker and a good slider. That could be a solid combination out of the bullpen, although the Giants also are working to stockpile starting pitching depth. They figure to have a pretty good handle of what Madero is capable of, as new pitching coach Andrew Bailey came to the Giants after two years on staff with the Angels.